- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Books

"Writing: The Story of Alphabets and Scripts," by Georges Jean, Harry N. Abrams Discoveries Series, 1992. The book gives some interesting background on the development of different writing styles.
"Art of Readable Writing," by Rudolf Flesch, IDG Books Worldwide, 1977. Besides offering some practical suggestions on ways to improve penmanship, the book also delves into psychological reasons why some people have poor handwriting.
"Muggie Maggie," by Beverly Cleary and Alan Tiegreen, Camelot, 1991. Aimed at the 9-to-12 age group, this is a charming story about a third-grade girl who is determined not to learn to write cursive. Her teacher and parents help her overcome her resistance.
"D'Nealian Handwriting Cursive ABC Book: Handwriting Practice Book," by Donald N. Thurber, Goodyear Publishing Co., 1993. This workbook is best for students on the second-grade or above level. It includes a poem that children can copy that emphasizes each letter of the alphabet. The book also includes tear-out flash cards that provide models for those trying to learn the cursive style.
"Cursive Writing (Grades 2-3)," by Stephen R. Covey, Golden Books Publishing Co., 1997. This is a good step-by-step guide to learning how to write in cursive.
"Handwriting Without Tears," by Janice Z. Olsen, Handwriting Without Tears (seventh revised edition), 1998. This is a long-standing favorite of many occupational therapists who work with children struggling with handwriting. It offers a set of exercises and writing samples for practice.
"Better Handwriting (Teach Yourself Series)," by Rosemary Sassoon and Gunnlaugur S.E. Brien, Teach Yourself Publishing, 1994. This book is aimed at adults who want to improve their handwriting. It is based on the belief that each person can find a suitable technique that will produce more legible writing.
"Change Your Handwriting, Change Your Life," by Vimala Rodgers, Celestial Arts, 1993. While the book's premise may be a bit grandiose, it does offer some interesting insights into why people's writing styles become illegible.
"George Bickham's Penmanship Made Easy: Or the Young Clerk's Assistant," by George Bickham, Dover Publications, 1997. Mr. Bickham, an 18th-century engraver and calligrapher, developed a set of rules on how to form letters. The book includes writing samples and suggestions for practicing the style.
"Write Now: A Complete Self-Teaching Program for Better Handwriting," by Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay, Continuing Education Press, 1991. The writing style this book teaches is easy for most children and adults to learn. Reviewers of the book praise it for its ability to help seemingly incorrigible scribblers learn to write legibly.

On line

For an interesting collection of articles on the history of penmanship, see Parker Pen Products Web site (www.parkerpen.co.uk/history/index.html).
Kathryn Stout, author of the Design-A-Study guides, has a Web site (www.designastudy.comteaching/tips-1198.html) with suggestions on how to help a child learn handwriting skills. She is an author, educator and consultant.

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